When we talk about smartwatches for physical pursuits and other perks, Garmin and Fitbit are two of the names that would come on top of the list. Garmin has been around longer, but Fitbit easily gives the brand a run for its money. The two are neck-to-neck in the business of producing the best smartwatches that fit anyone’s needs. Given this, it is no wonder the Fitbit vs Garmin fight for supremacy is always a fun thing to look forward to.
With the number of functionalities that Fitbit and Garmin offer — not to mention their trademark features — it is not easy to make a choice. This is why, in this article, we will explore the differences between Fitbit and Garmin, highlight their pros and cons, and eventually help you make a decision between these two amazing smartwatches.
Inside This Article
- Fitbit vs Garmin: Which Is Better
- Fitness Features/Trackers
- Smartwatch Features
- App Performance
- Watch Built/Toughness
- Comparison Table
- Fitbit vs Garmin Best Deals
- Fitbit vs Garmin Verdict
Many fitness-conscious people prefer Fitbit as their smartwatch of choice. The decision to capitalize and bank on fitness trackers is a smart move for the company as fitness trackers rose to prominence over the last couple of years. Moreover, it is also one of the well-known companies in smart payments — thanks to the inclusion of Fitbit Pay service on their devices. Fitbit has always done a wonderful job in keeping its customers satisfied.
Garmin watches, on the other hand, are well-recognized for the advanced features of their smartwatches that are well-preferred by athletes who are more serious in their physical pursuits.
The Fitbit vs Garmin battle is continuously evolving in conjunction with the evolution of the watches themselves. It has become more interesting when Google acquired Fitbit. But this is not to say that Garmin is lagging behind; Garmin remains the leading smartwatch when it comes to GPS-enabled fitness smartwatches.
Both Garmin and Fitbit smartwatches and fitness trackers can monitor a lot. While some features may vary at some point from one watch to another, a majority of the features do run solidly across the board, giving these watches a more cohesive user experience.
Garmin watches excel in providing the best monitoring features one can get out of a tracker. Their latest devices, Vivosmart to Fenix, normally have 24/7 heart rate and sleep monitoring. These watches also offer the Garmin-proprietary motivational fitness tracking feature, Move IQ, which gives more meaning to the way users move in a day.
More than anything else, it is safe to say that Garmin fitness trackers are prominently known for sports tracking. From running, cycling, and swimming, Garmin watches do offer a battery of metrics to help users get more of their physical pursuits.
Fitbit offers the same basic monitoring features with the sleep tracking feature being a standout. It has invested in its sleep monitoring feature to ensure users get detailed insights into the recordings, allowing them to make an educated action. On top of this and heart rate monitoring, Fitbit has recently incorporated menstrual health tracking in its watches.
Additionally, the new Fitbit watches such as Charge 4, Versa, and the Apple Watch competitor Fitbit Sense now come with a built-in GPS, effectively easing them into the fleet of Fitbit fitness trackers.
Winner. Garmin has the upper hand in the fitness feature category because it does offer robust features tailor-fit for the most active of people. For instance, the Forerunner 945 and Garmin Fenix now come with a rich set of activity-specific metrics that are capable of tracking progress for many other activities like hiking, skiing, climbing, or even paddleboarding. This feature alone eclipses what Fitbit watches can offer.
Essentially, Fitbit and Garmin produce smartwatches. However, both companies are banking on a certain type of smartwatch and, at the same time, trying to eclipse one another. This is because fitness trackers or fitness watches aren’t just the same timepieces anymore.
Categorically, Garmin watches are for fitness trackers but they double as smartwatches too. Most Garmin smartwatches pair well with Android and iOS devices. This essentially allows users to view notifications and sync other data through Garmin’s Connect app.
There are other smartwatch features in units like Forerunner 245 or Fenix such as making payments and playing music through playlists via Spotify and Deezer. Moreover, one can get more out of a Garmin watch by installing apps, getting new watch faces, and widgets through Connect IQ store.
If you don’t know it yet, Garmin smartwatch users can also enjoy voice commands to make things efficient. However, the watch can only perform commands displayed on the voice command menu.
Fitbit struggled to enter the smartwatch category at first. However, this has changed significantly since its launching — especially with the Fitbit Versa and Sense. Essentially, a Fitbit smartwatch will also allow users to make payments, view essential notifications, customize watch faces, and enjoy listening to music. Fitbit watches also work fine when paired with an Android or iPhone device.
Winner. What we like about Fitbit smartwatches is the incorporation of voice assistant support for Amazon’s Alexa. Fitbit is also now working to add more support for Google Assistant. Additionally, since Fitbit runs Wear OS, watches can enjoy the full benefits of an Android environment. Users report the experience is consistent regardless of the device pairing.
Both Garmin and Fitbit’s functionalities operate better with support from their respective partner apps. These apps are essential to ensure the watches are able to deliver. But which one is Pandora’s box?
The Garmin Connect App is accessible for both Android and iOS environments and is essentially the same in terms of the user interface. The app is comprehensive in giving users an overview of everything it records like activities in the last 24 hours, metrics it monitored, and which phone was used to connect with the watch. The app can record your calorie intake, fitness activities, heart rate, the steps you’ve taken, and even do sleep monitoring. Moreover, the Garmin Connect App now also has support for Spotify and Garmin Pay.
The app gives users the flexibility to change watch faces and customize widgets in the watch. Moreover, from the app, users can set up alerts on the watch and other activity options. On top of this, the app is where you set up your BMI details and customize your tracking options as to how you want it.
Essentially, the app displays comprehensive details you need to keep your fitness and health stats in check. This is ideal for anyone who maintains an active lifestyle, considering Garmin watches are practically good as fitness trackers.
Considering Fitbit runs Wear OS, there is a lot of flexibility both on the Fitbit watch and its partner app. Right off the bat, the Fitbit App home screen gives you a general view of your activities and the metrics it recorded. The Fitbit App has more added features in contrast to the Garmin Connect App. Here, users would be able to see comprehensive details of their stress management, mindfulness, sleep metrics, exercise metrics, and health metrics.
The Fitbit app has a lot of perks and benefits built-in. However, for the health-conscious ones, you can get more out of your Fitbit watch by subscribing to Fitbit Premium for $9.99. This subscription offers extended health support such as Health Coaching, Challenges and Adventures, and Community to allow you to join groups and help you stay on track. Another big plus is the ability to add third-party apps to get you in check with your fitness goals.
Considering that fitness trackers and even smartwatches are generally and commonly used for outdoor physical activities, it is best to assess just how durable Garmin and Fitbit watches are. Wearables intended for activities such as cycling, swimming, paddle boarding, and the likes would benefit greatly from lasting engineering design. Generally, Garmin and Fitbit watches are made from elastomer materials. This is common in many smartwatch wearables these days and does not have latex. However, there is a catch.
Garmin essentially has a more robust and flexible taste when it comes to design. Garmin offers options to customers; this means that Garmin is targeting not only those who love physical activities but matches their style when they engage in such activities.
If we look at Garmin Instinct and Garmin Fenix 6X, one can safely conclude these watches are more for those who love rugged-looking smartwatches. If you don’t fancy buying cases at the risk of a bulky wearable, Garmin offers these watches as a solution. While for those who love the sleek style, the likes of Garmin Forerunner and Vivoactive are on top of the list.
Winner. Fitbit does only seem to offer a sleek-looking option. Nonetheless, that is not to say these are not sturdy watches. We just love how Garmin has options when it comes to build, style, and design.
Pricing is a major consideration for most people. When it comes to pricing, the benefits and perks should outweigh the negatives to justify the price. Both Garmin and Fitbit smartwatches offer many features and benefits and it seems like a play of tug-of-war where the one performs better and the other one is still playing catch up.
Fitbit has a range of affordable watches in its fleet. Anyone looking into getting a smartwatch for the first time might want to try out Fitbit first. As mentioned above, Fitbit is as good as any competitor in the smartwatch/fitness tracker arena and offers watches for less than $100. For kids, the Fitbit Ace 3 would be a good one to get for only less than $100. Another option would be the Fitbit Inspire 2, still for less than $100. The more expensive Fitbit bands are the likes of Fitbit Versa 3 and Fitbit Sense.
Garmin watches, on the other hand, are generally intended for those who seem to have wadded their feet longer in the pool of fitness trackers. For as long as it is around, Garmin has always been known to market to those who are more serious when it comes to active physical pursuits. The newer Garmin bands are sold for over $400 to $500, whereas Garmin watches sold for less than $200 are already considered midrange for this brand.
Here is a Fitbit vs Garmin comparison table that can help you recap the differences between the two brands. With this, you can also finalize your pick easier.
|Popular among fitness enthusiasts||Preferred by athletes|
|Offers sleep, heart rate, menstrual, and GPS tracking, but excels the most in sleep monitoring||Does sports, heart rate, sleep, and fitness motivation monitoring, and excels in all|
|Incorporates smartwatch features such as voice commands (via Alexa or Google Assistant), mobile payments, music, and customizable watch faces||Supports smartwatch features such as voice commands (via Siri, Google Assistant, or Bixby and limited to menu options), mobile payments, music, apps, widgets, and swappable watch faces|
|Has an Android- and iOS-ready Fitbit App that can do the following:
1. Records fitness activities, health metrics, sleep quality
2. Helps manage stress and mindfulness
3. Adds Health Coaching, Challenges, Adventures, and Community features if you pay for premium
4. Syncs with various third-party fitness apps
|Has an Android- and iOS-ready Garmin Connect App that is capable of doing these:
1. Records fitness activities, metrics, calories, heart rate, steps, and sleep quality
2. Syncs with Garmin Pay and Spotify
3. Customizes watch faces and widgets
|Focuses on sleek yet durable designs||Offers rugged and sleek styles|
|Many of its products are under $100||Many of its products are priced $200 to $500 or higher|
Before we wrap everything, we thought it better to list some of the best Fitbit and Garmin deals you can find today. Maybe, after reading the points we raised above, you might want to shop for either over Amazon.
Here are our top Garmin and Fitbit smartwatch deals today.
Vivoactive 4 Smartwatch
This wearable comes with the basics you want from a smartwatch and doubles as a fitness tracker. You can customize the look of the watch by getting new watch faces and widgets through the Garmin IQ store. The Vivoactive 4 comes with the Pulse Ox reader as well as other metric monitors you need.
Buy from Amazon.
Garmin Venu Sq Music
This wearable is perfect when you are on the go and enjoy music so much. Sync your playlists from your Spotify, Amazon Music or Deezer accounts easily and enjoy them using the Venu Sq Music. Other than that, this watch can also double as a fitness tracker and comes with the features you need to monitor heart rate and exercise progress.
Buy from Amazon.
Being one of the newest in the Fitbit fleet, the Fitbit Sense is designed to introduce the newest developments in the Fitbit smartwatches. This includes support for both Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. Working double as a fitness watch, the watch also has the features you need when exercising or enjoying various outdoor physical pursuits.
Buy on Amazon.
Fitbit Versa Lite
The slim and versatile design of the Fitbit Versa Lite makes this watch attractive. Enjoy getting call, text, calendar, and smartphone app notifications right from your wrist with this smartwatch. You can also get access to your favorite apps and even send a text message using the Fitbit Versa Lite.
Buy on Amazon.
These are some of the top fitness trackers from Garmin and Fitbit.
Garmin Fenix 7
The Fenix 7 is Garmin’s latest multisport GPS watch as of this writing. It surpasses the Fenix 6 series in many aspects. Among the wearable’s notable features, which previous iterations do not have, are touch control, real-time stamina tracking, and race prediction based on practice performance. Best of all, these do not lead to fast power draining.
Buy from Amazon.
The Garmin Instinct comes with a built-in GPS and was designed to withstand even the harshest environments. This watch is for someone who trains hard and maintains an active lifestyle. This is supported by the fitness apps and metrics one can enjoy from this watch.
Buy on Amazon.
Fitbit Versa 3
We highly recommend this watch to anyone who enjoys biking, hiking, and cycling due to its powerful heart rate and pulse monitors. This watch also comes with support for Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa voice assistants. On top of this, users can make calls directly from their wrists — thanks to the built-in mic on the watch.
Buy on Amazon.
For those who like it sleek but active, the Fitbit Luxe is for you. It can easily pass for the perfect jewelry-like accessory and as the perfect fitness tracker. The built-in GPS in the watch can read accurate locations and runs perfectly with the other fitness tracker features this watch has to offer.
Buy on Amazon.
There is a clear overall winner in this Fitbit vs Garmin competition. That is Fitbit, which has the edge over Garmin in more categories — smartwatch features, app capability, affordability, and general user appeal. That isn’t to say that Garmin is a bad choice. Remember, it is better for monitoring more aspects of sports, fitness, and health, and is also more flexible style-wise.
That said, the final decision in this Fitbit vs Garmin dilemma still depends on your needs and spending power. For example, if you want an affordable and durable fitness watch and tracker, go for Fitbit. If you want an advanced sport, fitness, and health statistics-monitoring wearable even if it costs more, choose Garmin.